Pilot killed in Afghanistan in 2013 honored at Hunter Army Airfield

CW3 (Chief Warrant Officer Three) James Groves was on his fourth tour overseas when he died in a helicopter crash on March 16, 2013. Groves had served twice in Iraq and was in Afghanistan for the second time in 2013 when his family received the awful news. “The sacrifice that he specifically made in defense of our country is impressive and that of his family is just as impressive to have gone through that,” said Lt. Col. Phil Lamb, Lamb is squadron commander for the 3rd Squadron 17th Cavalry Regiment. “Mr. Groves’ wife was a former solider as well and they have two sons, so a family of four who with multiple deployments in support of Afghanistan and Iraq really sacrificed for us.”

The Groves family was on hand as a memorial headstone was unveiled at Hunter Army Airfield The stone will stand near a Kiowa helicopter now on display. The Kiowa is being retired but Mrs. Groves talked with reverence about the machine as well as her husband and members of the 3-17. “When someone was in trouble they were the first to saddle up, never worrying about the unknown or how dangerous it might be, ” said Katie Groves. “A brother was calling for help. The Kiowa enabled them to be there when the call came in.”

Mark Burrows who’s now retired from the military, was in the 3-17 and went on all four deployments with CW3 Groves. “It’s important you know that we honor James and our other fallen comrades and of course an aircraft that did so much for us,” said Burrows. “When times were tough Groves would kind of inject humor to get people through it, just his way of team building and getting through the hard times,” Burrows said. “Groves was a phenomenal pilot, everywhere he would go, he was requested.”

Lt. Col. Lamb saying the memorial stone will serve as reminder to all on base that sacrifice is part of the job. He said he hopes the community remembers that as well as the fact that American military is still deployed in Afghanistan and in harm’s way.

Katie Groves told the crowd that her husband was “her rock and she thinks of him every day.” She also addressed her two sons. Lastly, I want to thank our boys Bubba and Shane I know Dad was gone a lot over the years and missed many important things but never forget he loved you. Every time you are missing Dad, look in the mirror and you will find him – you both are the best of him and I know he’s very proud of you.”

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